SEO Best Practices - Does SEO still work? SEO tips for 2016
SEO Best Practices - Does It Still Work

If you have a website, you have most likely heard the term SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is not just a buzzword. It is a relevant step in helping to increase the amount of traffic to your website. Proper SEO best practices should be followed at every stage of your website development – from the content of your web pages and blog articles to the insertion of images and other media.

As with any other aspect of the internet, online business, and life in general – SEO is constantly evolving. Search engines, such as Google, regularly update the algorithm that they use to determine search engine rankings. The SEO best practices that worked yesterday may not be effective in the coming months.

Google and other search engines have been creating increasingly sophisticated search engine algorithms that rely more on the quality of the content than on the use of specific keywords. Does this mean that SEO is no longer a concern? The truth is that SEO will always be an important part of creating a website and posting blog articles. As search engine algorithms change, SEO best practices change.

Do the old rules still apply?

Before learning new SEO techniques, you may want to know whether the old rules still apply. The answer is both “yes” and “no”. Some of the previously recommended SEO best practices may no longer be as relevant as they once were, while other SEO techniques become more important.

What Should You Know About SEO in 2016?

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As the year comes to a close, get a head start on the new year. Start implementing SEO strategies that are likely to become more crucial for reaching the top of the search engine rankings. Here is an overview of the SEO best practices and strategies that you should make sure you are using in 2016:

  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly
  • Take advantage of social media
  • Your website needs to be easy to navigate
  • Pay attention to site speed and security
  • Begin using Schema markup

Why is Having a Mobile Friendly Website Important?

We have reached the point where about half of all Google searches are performed on a mobile device. A majority of people use their smartphones and tablets for browsing the web, checking their email, and accessing their favorite social media platform. Consumers are also more likely to visit your website on a mobile device – which means you need to pay attention to the user experience on mobile devices.

As part of Google’s search algorithm, they now look at whether a website is mobile-ready, when determining search engine rankings for mobile searches. Having a mobile-friendly site is no longer just about the overall user experience, but is now a major part of SEO best practices.

Consider using a responsive web design for the layout of your website. Essentially, a responsive web design means that the webpage that is delivered to a visitor responds to the display of the device that the visitor is using. The web page will automatically respond to different screen widths. If you are using WordPress, implementing a responsive design is as simple as choosing a new theme; though, a vast majority of WordPress themes is now being made with a responsive design in mind.

Do You Need to Use Social Media?

A little over a month ago, Facebook reached 1 billion active users. The average home user spends more time on their favorite social media platform than browsing the internet. The trend of paying more attention to your social media presence should continue to be an important part of SEO during the following year.

Focus on one or two social media platforms, so that you can devote more time posting relevant posts and engaging with your potential or existing customers. The more likes, shares, tweets, retweets, and overall social media chatter involving your business’s social media profile, the higher you will climb in search engine rankings. Google relies heavily on social media chatter, when determining search engine page rankings.

Why Should Make Sure Your Website is Easy to Navigate?

As mentioned, the mobile user experience provided by your website should be a part of your SEO strategy; though, making sure that your website is easy to navigate is useful for more than mobile SEO. When a search engine crawls your website, whether for desktop or mobile, they follow the links on every page to reach other pages on your site. If you have indexed websites that are not reachable via the links on your website, your search engine rankings could drop.

Generally, a user should be able to reach any page on your website within two clicks. Whether they are clicking on a “category” page or using the main menu, users should not have any problem locating the information that they are looking for. Again, WordPress makes this step easy, by providing with a variety of methods for streamlining the navigation of your website, such as the use of categories, tags, and sitemaps.

Is Site Speed and Security Really a Part of SEO?

The speed and security of your site should also be considered a part of your SEO strategy. Search engines can lower your page rankings if it takes a long time for your web pages to load. If the site takes too long to load, search engine crawlers may not be able to index your web pages.

The security of your website can also have an impact on your rankings. If it is found that your website is not secure or has been infected with malware, web browsers may prevent users from being able to visit your website.

What is Schema and How Can You Use It?

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As Google, and other search engines, begin to rely less on the use of keyword and keyword placement, the use of Schema markups will become more important. Schema refers to an organization that has created a series of tags that can be inserted into a web page. These tags are not visible to users. Instead, search engines use these tags to learn more about your web pages. There is markup for providing product information, business information, and any other crucial data. Schema markup is likely to replace keywords, as one of the most important parts of SEO best practices.

SEO is Here to Stay

SEO is not going anywhere. As long as there are search engines, websites will need to use search engine optimization. Even if the entire method of how search engines are used changes over the coming years, businesses will still need to pay attention to how they optimize their websites to increase traffic from search engine results.

As the new year approaches, it may be a good time to review your SEO techniques and strategies. Review the processes that you have in place and make updates as necessary. Remember, if you want to stay at the top of your game or increase your current rankings, you are going to have to roll with the changes. It is easy to become set in your ways or strictly follow the same SEO strategies that have worked in the past, but if you do not adapt and adopt new SEO techniques, you will eventually start to see a drop in traffic.

If you need any help with your SEO practices, feel free to leave a comment, take a look at some of my other articles, or contact me directly. I am focused on helping small business owners and individuals get more out of their websites and increase their web presence to gain more traffic. Thank you for reading and remember to get in touch if you need any further help.

Jeffrey Atherton

Jeffrey Atherton is Owner/Designer/Developer/Instructor at Max Height Web Solutions located in Littleton, Colorado. Max Height Web Solutions helps small, medium and start-up businesses create and grow their web presence using a proven strategy including websites, social media, SEO, blogging, email marketing, video and content marketing. Jeffrey regularly blogs about all things related to creating and growing web presence.

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